Staff should refer to the University’s Assessment and Moderation Procedures at the start of each academic year.

The process involves 6 key stages: (1) Drafting and approving the assessment brief (2) Offering guidance to students on assessment completion (3) First marking. (4) Internal moderation of the sample, (5) External moderation of the sample, (6) Feeding back and feeding forward to students.

Key Principles for Assessment and Moderation

  • Clear - Assessment briefs should be clear and provide appropriate challenge.
  • Relevant – Assessments should be authentic, relevant and where possible personalised (see Sub-sections 2.2, 2.3, 2.4 and 2.6).
  • Accurate – Assessments should cover the specified learning outcomes and adhere to the Module Specification requirements.
  • Developmental - Moderation activities are opportunities to share good practice.
  • Supportive – New staff (to academia and/or the University) should be supported accordingly (see Sub-section 1.4).
  • Timely – Assessment requirements and assessment feedback should be given in a timely manner.

Good Practice

  • Assessment deadlines should be planned to ensure assessments are not bunched and that feedback for earlier assessments allow students to learn before submitting later assessments.
  • Ensure students are given approved assessment briefs and assessment details at least 4 weeks before the submission date.
  • Refer to University’s General Assessment Guidelines when deciding on a mark and giving bespoke feedback.
  • Ensure the module calendar in the Module Guide shows assessment input and feedback sessions/tutorials.
  • Ensure any additional guidance e.g. specific assessment criteria/ assessment checklist matches assessment brief and does not clash with the General Assessment Guidelines.
  • Show that internal moderation has resolved issues before external moderation (see 1.5).
  • Where there are two or more markers use standardisation and/or social moderation activities (see 1.5).

Myth Busting

We don’t need our External Examiner to look at assessment briefs – just exams
IV. Draft assessment briefs and examination papers for all levels should be sent to the External Examiner.
We don’t need our External Examiner to look at Level 3 and HE4 marked work
X. The sample of marked work (for all HE levels) which has been internally moderated is sent to the External Examiner.
It’s easier just to update assessment information in previous cohort’s Module Guide
I. The starting point for creating any assessment is the Module Specification. Assessments should be contemporary and relevant to the cohort.
We decided to change the assessment type because it wasn’t popular
I. .. Assessment types, weightings and learning outcomes specified on the Module Specification cannot be altered without undertaking the Programme Change process.
It’s a good idea to allocate a set percentage for references/research
II. It is important that mark schemes do not conflict with assessment guidelines. Caution should be exercised when using a mark scheme for elements of descriptive work. For example, if 5% were allocated for “References and “Research” for a written piece, a student could technically receive up to 95% for a piece of work which has no evidenced arguments. This would contradict General Assessment Guidelines which require students to include in-text and Reference List sources in order for their work to be of pass grade.
We can only allow up to two weeks for extensions
VI. Extensions over 14 calendar days may granted for assessments with individual outputs e.g. projects and artefacts, providing there is relevant evidence to substantiate the request.
We don’t give feedback on exam performance
IX. Tutors should make available marked any internally moderated work (including examinations and dissertations) to students with feedback and provisional grades within 15 working days.
We can split the difference between my mark (first marker) and your mark (internal marker)
Where there is up to 5% discrepancy between the marking tutor’s mark and the internal moderator’s suggested mark, the first marker’s mark should stand.


Further Reading

University of Bolton (2023). Assessment and Moderation Procedures [online]. Available from https://www.bolton.ac.uk/assets/Student-Policy-Zone-2023-24/Assessment-and-Moderation-Procedures-2023-24.pdf